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@Dreamstake is a network for creative entrepreneurs and last week I attended one of their events: Female Superheroes.When events like this go well, it’s like cocaine for business-minded folk.  Suddenly you feel great and want to rush away to execute your ideas!  There was a good turn out, lots of energy and inspirational stories.  It was great to see such enthusiasm. Several cool women gave presentations but I only have room to give a quick mention to a couple of them here today.

Devilishly Handsome Productions

Thembisa Cochrane from the deliciously named Devilishly Handsome Productions sent out a strong message that women need to be more courageous about technology.  She asked for women to step up and try to (more…)

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I tweeted a couple of thoughts last week about social networks and these caught the eye of creative Dave Black of Black Arts. There’s a lot of pressure for businesses to get to grips with the variety of social media ‘out there’ and embrace them all!  But is that the right thing to do?  Dave says (with a few edits from me):

“Social media and networks are pretty exciting and new – sort of. Talking isn’t really new. In fact, what “social” media do is model and facilitate existing ways of communicating and make them global. For example,

  • Twitter is the little comments and chats we have between our larger, more serious conversations.
  • Email is a letter – formal and private.
  • Facebook is meeting your mates in a pub where you all chat but other people can overhear you.
  • StartupCafe is a cafe – it’s chatty and informal, just as it should be. (more…)

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I thought Dave Black’s response to last wk’s post “Keep it simple, stupid” contained some good points so I’m posting it here for those who might find it useful.  StartupCafe’s Jess also made a good point about being forced to describe what you do in 7 words only – how many of us can do that?  It’s a constant challenge – but one worth taking on 🙂

In the meantime, here’s Dave:

“It’s common to find it difficult to articulate exactly what you are and what you do, whether you’re a business or an individual. We worry about making it sound too simple so we dress it up in flowery language, or we worry about making it sound too complicated so we struggle and stammer trying to simplify it.

Here are 3 common mistakes in self-description – mission/vision statements. (more…)

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A friend likes to call me contumacious.  I prefer to be described as willfully disobedient.  Both mean the same thing.  But which is easier to understand? Contumacious of course!  (Relax, I’m kidding).

I was cornered by a man this week who interrogated me for a while  before I thought it only fair to ask him what exactly he did for a living.  To my great irritation, he went on to ask a whole host of questions and make abstract statements, building up to the real answer. Several sentences later, I was still none the wiser, and my threadbare patience drove me to cry out (more…)

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Current business model wisdom holds that increasingly, companies must provide excellent customer experiences to remain competitive. In other words, to stand out in a crowded market, successful companies must turn good products into fantastic services. (more…)

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With an abundance of digital agencies and software development companies dotted about the landscape like currants in a spotted dick (it’s a pudding), what can you do to be awesome?  The usual answers are: provide an exceptional service, beat expectations, produce cool, innovative products etc  But I was thinking along the lines of something less glamourous – like implementing processes for various aspects of a project.

Why? Because unfortunately, being awesome can oftentimes just mean – delivering on time!  Being on time with software development projects is not something to be taken lightly.  It’s a huge feat.  Such projects are notorious for being over time and over budget.

Delivering on time on a regular basis means you are reliable.  Being reliable may not be sexy, but it is so incredibly necessary for client satisfaction.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be known as the mailman of the industry you work in i.e. the ones who ‘always deliver’.

Now these things don’t happen overnight but as a colleague from long ago once said to me “Bela, mighty Oaks from little acorns grow”.  Or was that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”?  So here’s a first step that I have found to work wonders, on my stress levels if nothing else. (more…)

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Women only tech/web/startup events are well attended.  If these same women were to attend mixed networking events, the gender ratio of ‘typical’ networking events would start to improve and perhaps these wouldn’t feel quite so male-dominated.  I raise this point because men and women bring with them different qualities and it would be a shame not to be able to share and benefit from our differences. (more…)

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Apologies up front. This is probably a bit of a rant but I hope there’s a serious point to be gotten at here.

Last night, I was at Techmeetup presenting the rough plan for the startupcafe mobile app.

I have to say, I got a bit of a curious reaction.

Let me give a bit of context first … Startupcafe started about a year and a half ago because a few of us were frustrated that we were going to startup events, but there was no central place to find out about them. We thought it would be a good idea to post news and events for other people to hear about, as well as pointing out local successes to help make startup life a little bit less lonely. Eventually, we’ve even gone on to do interviews and write up proper articles – something none of us have trained for.

Like quite a few other meetups in the city, it is really ran by a group of people that are doing it in their spare time. It’s a labour of love. Despite the hours, we love helping people and the reactions that we get when someone has found something of value through us. It’s a side project.

(more…)

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Wow, I’ve been really interested to read the responses to our predictions for 2011 series. Rather than just hiding them in the comments, I thought I would gather together all the comments and my replies in one place. So here goes …

[Ed: I actually wrote this a while ago but its taken a few weeks to publish it. Sorry!]

Prediction 1: Home entertainment embraces the second screen

1 sentence summary: TV will have to share their attention with the iPad and tablet

Real time expert Phil Leggetter (Kwwika) writes:

Kate – great article and you are 100% correct about the 2nd screen being a massive part of home entertainment now and in the future.

In October 2010 there was an event called 2Screen (http://2-screen.com/) focusing on exactly this and even earlier than that a company called TellyLinks.com (http://tellylinks.com/) partnered with Five TV to provide information synchronised with what was happening on the show Numb3rs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numb3rs). (more…)

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This is the last instalment of my predictions for the big tech trends this year. To recap, they have been:

1. Home Entertainment Embracing the Second Screen
2. Gamification of Everything
3. The Rise of Multi-user, Multi-device apps
4. A Re-Focus on Non-Smartphones

5. Massive Growth of  iOS Content Management Systems

Everyone wants an iPhone app. EVERYONE. Why? Look at the stats – according to one report, it is estimated that revenues will hit 2 billion dollars in the iPhone apps store this year … Just like everyone wanted a website back in the early 2000s, we’re seeing a similar trend with iPhone/Android apps.
Building websites back in 2001 was a pain, in the same way that building iPhone apps nowadays is not exactly a walk in the park (Objective-C is about as much fun as brussel sprouts – its an acquired taste). Thankfully, Content Management Systems (CMS) began springing up to help build and maintain websites in a much less painful way. Once configured and installed, a website could be handed over to your regular user and they could update as much as they want. And this year, I predict that we will see a similar trend with iPhone/iPad apps.

Two startups with iPhone building systems that impress me at the moment – Red Foundry and AppMakr. I’ve been lucky enough to beta test Red Foundry’s system in the last two months and I have to say, I’m really impressed with the look and feel of the final output of the app. There’s a CMS type option where you can produce a “magazine” type app using RSS feeds. There is also a more advanced version using a markup language. Either way, it is now possible for a non-programmer to build and update an iPhone app. To me, systems like these will help to bridge the demand for iPhone apps and the lack of iPhone developers.

I think 2011 will see a massive growth in the use of these systems – especially since the smartphone market is growing and growing.

This is the last instalment of my predictions for the big tech trends this year. Have you got a list of your own? or do you have any comments on this? Feel free to drop them below.

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